Vaping for Smoking Cessation – Real World Effectiveness
Being involved in the study of psychology, I’m all about facts. I know what you’re thinking, isn’t psychology someone repeatedly asking, “and how does that make you feel?” While psychology is defined as the study of human behaviors and the mind, it has a very strong hand in the field of research. Psychological researchers conduct all different types of studies regarding human interactions, medicine, and more!
My background in the field and my experience in conducting professional research studies makes me a fact fanatic. I love them. I can’t get enough. Even better than facts? Strong statistics proven through research. Combine these statistics based in fact with a reduced harm alternative and this psychology major is in heaven!
In psychology, part of the counseling process is to encourage people to find reduced-harm alternatives to pursue. For smokers, this may be encouraging a multivitamin to help reduce natural levels influenced by their cigarette use, or even making the switch to vaping. Given my background, it’s easy to see why I’m such a strong advocate for vaping and the potential benefit of switching from smoking. My background in encouraging reduced-harm options and statistical research doesn’t make for an interesting article. But, it can help to shed some light on real world effectiveness by interpreting data from a large cross sectional survey of the English population.
E-cigarettes and vaping have grown in popularity, jumping from 2% of American smokers using vapes in 2010 to more than 30% in 2012. With the increase in popularity, it’s no surprise that many turn to vaping and e-cigarettes to aid in their smoking cessation. While personal testimonials are fantastic and encourage many to launch a quit attempt, researchers were interested in learning how vaping aids in smoking cessation when compared to other available options such as over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies, as well as quitting “cold turkey” or without any aid.
The Study Design
To conduct the study, researchers used a cross-sectional survey of representative samples of the adult population in England from July 2009 and February 2014. Essentially, researchers took a sampling of the adult population in England who had used cigarettes, or other smoked tobacco products, daily or occasionally in the past 12 months. Each month, a random sampling of approximately 1800 adults aged 16 or older would complete the survey.
Participants also included individuals who had attempted to quit smoking in the preceding twelve months. This only included serious attempts, defined as attempts where the individual was set on never smoking again. Excluded from the participants included those who had used nicotine replacement therapies in conjunction with e-cigarettes, a prescription medication to aid in smoking cessation, or face-to-face behavioral support. Included as participants were individuals who had used e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapies on their own, without any other means of cessation support during their attempt.
The surveys relied on self-reported measures, meaning participants were asked questions and responded on their own directly to the survey. Questions included: “How long did your most recent serious quit attempt last before you went back to smoking?” When an individual responded that they were still continuing their cessation of smoking, they were considered for classification purposes as non-smokers. Self-reporting surveys aid accuracy, as there is no social pressure to claim continued smoking abstinence as occurs in clinical trials.
Also noted were confounding variables such as nicotine dependence and urge to smoke. Someone with a higher nicotine dependence or urge to smoke may face additional difficulties when seeking out smoking cessation than someone with a low dependence and low smoking urge.
Conclusions Made by the Research
Here’s the part everyone has been waiting for – the results! While I can give you my journey of smoking cessation, you can’t argue with these facts. Based on their cross-sectional survey e-cigarette users were more likely to report abstinence than those who used over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) or no aid. The desire to smoke was higher in that of smokers than compared to those of nonsmokers, however, the averages of urges across population were similar.
I love facts and mathematical research statistics, and you should too! In terms of vaping and use of vapes for smoking cessation, you can’t argue with facts. Opinions don’t hold up, but facts, when properly formulated, are concrete. You can’t argue with strong, mathematically sound research results.